I was very excited this week, well, for a little bit anyway. My publisher had arranged for me to do a virtual author event at a very big conference. There haven’t been many opportunities to do ANY kind of promotions thanks to stupid COVID and the never-ending lockdown, so I was pretty pumped, and had what I thought was a great time slot. Then, yesterday morning, I was scrolling through Facebook and found an article about a TV show based on a book that had just been cancelled due to some major controversy about the show’s director. But the name of the author who had written the book in question seemed familiar…and sure enough, it was the writer who was doing a virtual session in the SAME TIME SLOT AS ME and no one will be coming to my event now if they have to choose between a well-known writer embroiled in controversy and a little-known writer who just says F*ck a lot. My heart sank faster than—well, I was going to say the Titanic but people died when that ship sank and I’m just sad—so let’s just say ‘faster than a really heavy rock’. But the rock was VERY heavy and I was VERY sad, so I did what any normal person would do—I bought a clock. And if you know anything about me at all, you’ll know I love clocks and that I have, currently, 45 clocks of which 16 actually work. I didn’t actually NEED another clock, but this one was so pretty and such a good price that I couldn’t resist. I’ll resell it as soon as the antique market where Ken and I have a booth reopens (it’s also currently shut down thanks to stupid COVID and the never-ending lockdown), but for now, I have it by my desk where I can admire it.
And then I had to go and cancel out the joy that clocks bring me by also buying a small Persian rug from a guy for a very good price. But how could buying a rug possibly lead to an absence of joy, you ask? Well, here’s the difference between a clock and a rug: when you put a clock somewhere, it doesn’t move. The hands might, if it’s a working clock, but aside from that, it pretty much stays in one spot. Rugs, on the other hand (or should I say ‘on the other foot’, bwah hah hah) are a double-edged sword. I adore them, but they also have a nasty tendency to shift around when people or dogs walk on them. And the other thing you probably know about me is that my OCD, which is usually fairly mild, flares up when I’m stressed out. It isn’t bad most days—in fact, you might not even notice it, unless you look around my house and realize that all objects of décor are organized in specific patterns, or you’ve watched me put groceries on the conveyer belt according to size and shape and with one inch of space between all items, or you’ve seen me in the bathroom washing my hands simply because doing that fills me with a sense of profound relief, or you’ve noticed my dermatophagia.
But lately, I’ve been under a lot of stress. I also suffer from what I call “Straight Line OCD” or what experts call “an Extreme Need for Symmetry and Exactness”. Do you have any idea what kind of torture it is to simultaneously have an extreme need for symmetry and exactness as well as a house full of rugs that are constantly out of place? Why don’t you get rid of the rugs, you ask? Because it’s an old house with pine floors, and we need the rugs to stop the floors from getting damaged, muffle the creaking of the floorboards, and stop our feet from getting cold. Plus, when they’re nicely centred on the floor, they’re very beautiful. Why don’t you get those rug gripper things, you ask? I have them under every damn rug and they don’t work!
But I don’t blame the rugs. I mean, it’s not like they’re deliberately askew-ing themselves. No, I blame Ken, who walks on them constantly, and especially the dog, who likes to run through a room at top speed, sliding on them and misaligning them. So I literally spend all my time straightening rugs. And if, right now, you’re like “Why don’t you just leave them? Who cares if they’re on a weird angle?”, WELL, KEN, IT MUST BE NICE TO BE YOU.
I feel bad for the dog though. His favourite game is something we call “Boogedy Boogedy” wherein he has a toy, and I pretend I want it, so I chase him around the kitchen island and then suddenly change direction, confronting him as I yell Boogedy Boogedy, then he takes off into the family room. There are, unfortunately, four rugs involved in this scenario.
Atlas: Ma! Do you want my toy?
Me: I most certainly do. I’m gonna get you and when I do, I’m gonna eat you!
Atlas (running) Hee hee!
Me: Boogedy boogedy!
Atlas: Wheeeee—wait…why are you stopping?
Me: I have to straighten the rug.
Atlas: Are we done playing? ‘Cause I’m just going to mess it up again.
Me: I know.
The most exhausting part of the game isn’t running after the dog—it’s having to constantly stop to straighten the rugs.
And I thought I was off the hook earlier in the week. I was supposed to pick up the rug, and when I got to the guy’s house, it wasn’t where he said it would be, which was rolled up in a bag behind his garage. I messaged him and he was confounded. “I put four rugs out, each in their own bag, labelled with people’s names,” he said. Later, he messaged me that he’d looked at the security camera footage and saw that someone else had taken ALL rugs, instead of just the one they bought. And I was like “Oh, that’s OK, and also I wasn’t dancing while I was waiting at your door, I was jumping up and down from the cold.”
(Narrator’s Voice: She was indeed dancing, having been unaware that there were, indeed, security cameras.)
But then on Friday, he messaged me that he’d gotten the rug back, so what choice did I have? So yes, another rug to straighten. But between that and chasing the dog, I’m staying in shape and no matter what angle you look at it from, that’s a good thing.